Divorce law is different in every state, and the advice that you’ll get regarding your divorce is going to be specific to your unique situation. But there are some things you should know about filing for divorce in Indiana.
The Process of Filing for a Divorce in Indiana
You can file a divorce in Indiana for any reason; this is called a “no-fault divorce.” In some other states in the country, you need to provide a reason as to why you’re divorcing, but Indiana is not one of them.
There are still a few forms you will need to file: Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Summons, Financial Declaration, and Child Support Obligation Worksheet (if children are involved).
You can file these forms on your own, but it is always recommended to engage with an attorney. You should have your own attorney for your divorce, rather than sharing an attorney with your partner.
Once these forms have been filled out, your spouse will need to be served with them. If you can both agree on these terms, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce.
An Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorces occur when both parties agree on the divorce. It’s an inexpensive method of divorce and generally quick, but both you and your spouse must agree on everything including financial distribution, asset distribution, and childcare.
The fastest, cheapest type of divorce is a divorce that is uncontested and that does not involve children. These divorces generally move smoothly, especially if there aren’t significant assets to push past.
A contested divorce occurs when parties disagree with each other on at least one of these terms. This type of divorce will need to go before the court, and the courts will decide what is fair in terms of the divorce. Contested divorces can become quite complex, especially if there are many assets involved, such as multiple houses. An attorney may be able to serve as a mediator to bring a contested divorce to an uncontested divorce to avoid a lengthy court battle.
An Unacknowledged Divorce
It can also occur that it is impossible to serve an individual, due to an inability to locate them. When it’s impossible to serve a spouse, divorce by publication may occur. Your divorce will be publicized in the newspaper for a certain amount of time and, if the divorce decree is not responded to, the divorce will be granted.
Financial Disclosures During the Process of Divorce
Divorce is a highly personal process, but it is also a financial and legal process. During the divorce, you will be asked to provide a range of documents such as income statements, bank statements, and tax returns. These items are going to form the basis of your arguments regarding distribution.
There are things you cannot or should not do with your finances during the process of divorce; this is something that your attorney will go over. In general, trading large amounts of funds (such as giving them away to friends and family) is not going to be looked upon favorably by the court, and if you go into large amounts of debt, that may not be considered marital debt if you have already separated households.
You should not make major financial changes while undergoing the process of divorce.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
You should usually get an attorney before you have told your current spouse that you are interested in a divorce. You should never have the same attorney as your spouse, even if you’re going through an amicable, uncontested divorce. While it can be more affordable, it’s a conflict of interest, and you won’t know whether it was in your best interest to contest or to fight for more.
There is always an advantage to preparing yourself. If you believe your spouse could take action against you, contacting an attorney before you talk to them is critical. Your spouse may be able to hide funds or start funneling assets elsewhere before you can act, and you may not be fully safe from debts they acquire if you have not yet started the process of divorce or separation.
Even if you believe that the divorce process will be amicable, there are always complications once the divorce begins. It’s better to get started early with the right advice.